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UK Singles Chart logo.
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company (OCC) on behalf of the British record industry. The full chart contains the top 200 singles based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 (such as the BBC) or the Top 75 (such as Music Week Magazine) of this list. Around 6,500 UKmarker retail outlets contribute sales data, as well as most UK online digital download stores. Unlike in the U.S.marker, no airplay statistics are used for the official UK Singles Chart. The chart week runs from Sunday to Saturday, with most UK singles being released on Mondays.

The Top 40 chart is first revealed on Sunday afternoons by BBC Radio 1 (prior even to posting on the OCC’s own website), with the chart subsequently being printed in Music Week magazine (Top 75 only) on the following Monday, and the independent newsletter ChartsPlus (Top 200) on Wednesdays. It is also published online on various sites (generally Top 40 only). Radio 1 broadcasts the Top 40, in reverse order, on Sundays from 16:00 to 19:00. Mark Goodier and Bruno Brookes are famous for having been the presenters of this chart show for many years, though few can rival Alan Freeman whose Pick Of The Pops formed the chart show throughout the 1960s and into the early 70s. Since October 2007, Reggie Yates has presented the chart show and, until September 2009, with Fearne Cotton. Cotton was the first ever permanent female presenter of the Official Chart Show. A rival chart called The Big Top 40 Show, is based on downloads and commercial radio airplay, which is broadcast on 140 commercial local radio stations.

According to the Official UK Charts Company's statistics, as of 29 November 2009, 1,115 singles have topped the UK singles chart. The precise number is debatable due to the profusion of different competing charts during the 50s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, although the usual list used is that endorsed by the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and subsequently adopted by The Official UK Charts Company.

History

Early charts

Singles charts based on sales of records were first published by the Americanmarker Billboard magazine as early as 1940. In that respect the United Kingdommarker could be said to have been slow to pick up on the idea. The first British singles chart based on sales, was published in the 14 November 1952 edition of the New Musical Express (NME). Even then, it was at first little more than a gimmick, compared to the more prestigious sheet music charts. These had been produced on and off since 1936, and in their turn formed the basis of the first-ever chart countdown show on Radio Luxembourg. The new sales chart was a tool in the circulation war against NME's much older (and more popular) rival Melody Maker. The chart, described as a top 12 although the first one actually listed 15 records due to tied positions, was the creation of the paper's advertising manager, Percy Dickins, who compiled it by telephoning around 20 major record stores and aggregating their sales reports. He would continue to personally oversee the compilation of the chart well into the 1960s.

The chart rapidly became one of the paper's most popular features. After only a few weeks, it started being quoted in record company advertisements and press releases. In October 1954 it expanded to a Top 20 and in April 1956 to a Top 30. The chart also spawned imitators; Record Mirror launched its own chart in 1955 and Melody Maker on 7 April 1956. However, none of this meant that the sheet music chart became redundant overnight. For a few more years it was still regarded as important, and was probably more accurately compiled, but the sales chart was the chart of the future.

The forerunner of today's official chart first appeared in the music trade publication Record Retailer (now Music Week) in March 1960 as a Top 50, but was not immediately recognised as the definitive chart in the country. Arguably, the NME chart was still the most recognised chart, and had the advantage of widespread exposure due to its use by Radio Luxembourg. Throughout the sixties, the various different charts vied for public recognition, leading to some historical anomalies - for example, The Beatles' second single "Please Please Me" was listed at number one on most charts, but not in Record Retailer. To add to the confusion, the chart used by the BBC on their popular shows Pick of the Pops and Top Of The Pops, in an effort to remain impartial, was actually calculated by averaging out all the others, and so did not agree with any of them, and was prone to tied positions, the most notorious example being when three records (The Beach Boys "Do It Again", The Bee Gees "I've Gotta Get a Message to You", and Herb Alpert's "This Guy's In Love With You") tied at Number 1 in Summer 1968. There were also charts, such as that used in the mid 1960s by the "pirate" station Radio London (the "Fab 40"), which, because of the size of the audience, were influential, but were essentially airplay charts (allegedly influenced by payola) and bore no relation to sales.

In February 1969 a more reliable chart emerged, from an alliance between the BBC and Record Retailer. For the first time a professional polling organisation, BMRB, was commissioned to oversee the chart, and a pool of 500 record shops was used, more than twice as many as had been used for any previous chart. The new Official Top 50, computer-compiled for the first time, was inaugurated in the week ending 12 February 1969. Since then it, and its successors, have been published every week by Record Retailer and then Music Week.

In May 1978, the singles chart was expanded from a Top 50 to a Top 75.

Electronic Age

In January 1983 ; BMRB lost their contract to Gallup, who arranged for electronic data gathering to replace the old sales diary method of compilation, which as well as being reliant on the smooth running of the postal service (as had been demonstrated by a two month long postal strike in early 1971), was also vulnerable to anyone wanting to manipulate the charts (as revealed in a 1980 exposé by World in Action). Although Gallup had been producing the charts since 1983, the first chart terminals appeared in record shops in 1984. As a result, in October 1987, it was now possible for the chart, incorporating sales up to close of business on Saturday, to be announced on Sunday afternoon, rather than being delayed until Tuesday (or even Wednesday following a bank holiday) as was previously the case. From this time on, the Sunday BBC Radio 1 chart show would broadcast a new chart for the first time rather than give the final run-down of a chart that had been around for the past five days.

The chart was still officially a Top 75. However, in January 1983 Gallup started producing a "Next 25" section, i.e. positions 76-100, and this was printed in the official trade magazine Music Week and also Record Mirror from then on. This section was not however an accurate reflection of sales. Discs that that been falling by more than a certain amount were excluded, allowing others to climb to positions they did not really hold. If a former hit showed a small increase in sales (perhaps by being sold at cut-price to clear the remaining copies from stores quickly), it appeared as a re-entry when it had actually only gone back up a few places.

By 1990 costs to produce the charts had risen to over £600,000. Gallup sampled (depending on source) 900 or 1,500 stores each week. The trade association of UK record companies, British Phonographic Industry Ltd. (BPI), announced in January the termination of the contracts with Gallup, Music Week and the BBC for 30 June 1990. On 1 July 1990, the publishing company of Music Week, Spotlight Publications/Link House Magazines, formed a new independent company, Chart Information Network Ltd. (CIN), to commission the charts. CIN co-operated with Gallup, the BBC and the British Association of Record Dealers (BARD). Initially the BPI refused to get involved in CIN's Chart Supervisory Committee (CSC) or to authorise the charts.

In November 1990, the "Next 25" section of the UK singles chart, i.e., positions 76–100 with specially applied rules, ceased to be printed in the official trade magazine Music Week. Between 24 November 1990 and 6 April 1991, only Record Mirror continued to print the "Next 25".

In January 1991, CIN became a joint-venture between Music Week publisher Spotlight/Link House and the BPI. Each part pays 50% of the cost of the charts, which had then risen to £1 million, but also shares equally in the revenue. The CSC now comprised members from Music Week, CIN, Gallup, the BBC, BARD, and the BPI. Subsequently CIN sought to open new marketing opportunities and sponsorship deals; these included premium-rate fax and telephone services and chart newsletters, Charts+Plus (published from May 1991 to November 1994) and Hit Music (published from September 1992 to May 2001).

From May 1991, the newly established newsletter "Charts+Plus" featured the singles charts with positions 76–200 (plus artist albums positions 76–150, Top 50 compilations, and several genre and format charts. In September 1992, a second newsletter was created: "Hit Music" features, among other charts, the singles Top 75 plus a revived "Next 25".

In early 1993, tenders were sought for the chart compilation contract. Gallup's contract was to run out by the end of January 1994. In April 1993, BARD renewed its contracts with CIN. The BARD member companies were to provide sales data exclusively to CIN. In May 1993, CIN announced that Millward Brown, subsidiary of global advertising, media and communications conglomerate WPP (headed by Sir Martin Sorrell), had won the chart contract. The main points of discussion were the rising costs, advances in technology, and better access to data. CIN would control the analysis of data and also own the copyright in all of Millward Brown's research.

On 1 February 1994, Millward Brown took over as compiler of the CIN charts. The initial size of the sample was 1,250, rising to 1,600 by April 1994. The first chart based on Millward Brown data was published on 6 February 1994 (chart date: 12 February 1994).

In November 1994, Charts+Plus ceased publication, and Hit Music expanded its chart coverage to an uncompressed (in other words, not applying any special rules) Top 200 Singles, Top 150 Artists Albums and Top 50 Compilations. In November 1996 the Artist Albums chart extended to a Top 200.

In November 2001 Chart Information Network (CIN) changed its name to "The Official UK Charts Company".

With its edition no.439 in May 2001, Hit Music ceased publication. By September 2001, chart enthusiast Herman Verkade entered a licensing agreement with CIN and created an independent new chart publication: ChartsPlus, covering the Top 75 Singles chart plus compressed positions 76–200, as well as the Top 200 artist albums chart, Top 50 compilations, and many other format and genre charts.

The Internet Age

In 2005 Wes Butters presented the last ever UK Top 40 concluding his time at Radio 1. The chart show was then radically re branded for the chart week ending 16 April, the first singles chart combining physical release sales with legal downloads began. Several test charts, and finally an actual download sales chart on its own, were published in 2004, but this combination within the official singles chart reflected a changing era, where sales of the physical single were falling while download sales were rising. On 17 April 2005, hosts JK and Joel commented during the broadcast on BBC Radio 1 that the incorporation of download sales had resulted in an approximate doubling of singles sales on the week. For the first week's combined chart, however, the impact of this doubling was not readily apparent at the top of the chart, although a few singles in the middle positions benefited.

Initially, the British Association of Record Dealers were worried about the popularity of downloading taking away business from the high street. They also complained that including singles that were not available physically would confuse customers and create gaps in stores' sale racks. But they did agree to the new rules provided that digital sales were only included to a single's sales tally so long as there was a physical equivalent sold in shops at the time. However, as there was no rule for the minimum number of pressings, Gorillaz got round this by releasing just 300 vinyl copies of their single "Feel Good Inc." on 12 April 2005, a month before its general release. This allowed it to debut in the chart at number 22 (eventually reaching number 2) and remain in the Top 40 for a longer period.

After pressure from elsewhere in the music industry, a second compromise was reached in 2006, which now allowed singles to chart on downloads the week before their physical release. Black Eyed Peas and Ne*Yo charted early as a result, and on 2 April 2006, "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley became the first song to top the charts on music download sales alone. As part of the revised rules, singles would now be removed from the chart two weeks after the deletion of the physical formats, which meant "Crazy" fell out of the chart 11 weeks later from number 5, and a subsequent chart-topper, Nelly Furtado's "Maneater", disappeared from number 10. This was in addition to the already in-force rule that in order to be eligible for the chart, the physical single had to have been released within the last twelve months. This was a very unpopular decision with chart followers, as it made a mockery of the charts apparently fairly representing the biggest selling singles. It meant a song could sell enough to be number one, but because it had been deleted 2 weeks earlier it wouldn't even be in the Top 200.

Over the coming months digital sales continued to increase whilst physical sales continued to fall, which saw more and more artists entering the top 40 early, and fewer and fewer singles entering the chart directly at number 1. Whilst initially the proportion of digital sales to physical sales in the combined tally was relatively low, a majority of singles are now seeing more than 50% of their sales coming from online. Sales through mobile phones and video downloads are now also counted, but it is no longer expected that sales data of ringtones will ever be included.

On 1 January 2007 the integration of downloaded music into the charts became complete when all downloads - with or without a physical equivalent - became eligible to chart. This saw a few singles gain publicity: the aforementioned "Crazy" and "Maneater", still selling strongly on downloads some time after their physical equivalents had been deleted, both returned to the chart along with several others that had been removed in the preceding months. "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol surged back in at a Top 10 position (number 9, just three places below the peak it had reached the previous September), while "Honey to the Bee" by Billie Piper, following a tongue-in-cheek promotional push by Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles to test out the new chart rules, reappeared at number 17, almost eight years after its original chart run.

The second song to return to the Top 40 several years after its first hit run was "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans, which reappeared at number 32 a full decade after it originally topped the chart. The impetus this time was Puff Daddy's recent performance of a new version of the track at the Princess Diana Memorial Concert at Wembleymarker. Two months later Luciano Pavarotti's "Nessun Dorma" returned to the chart at number 24 in the week following his death, 17 years after it was first a hit, climbing subsequently to number 12, while a drumming gorilla in a Dairy Milk television advert helped "In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins to climb to number 14, 26 years after it was first a hit and 19 years since its last chart appearance as a re-mix. None of these songs had been officially re-issued.

"Blag, Steal and Borrow" by Koopa became the first song to chart without ever being released physically (and the first by an unsigned band to do so). Later in the year they would do it again twice, with "One Off Song for the Summer" and "The Crash" reaching #21 and #16 respectively, while the band remained unsigned until the following year.

Following the cancellation of its physical release "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado was the first Top 10 hit to get through its entire chart career without a single copy ever appearing in any shop. "Lord Don't Slow Me Down" by Oasis became the second, "Violet Hill" by Coldplay the third, and "Disturbia" by Rihanna the fourth, while "Candyman" by Christina Aguilera had a chart run that took it into the Top 20 (number 17) entirely on downloads.

However, it was only a matter of time before there was a number 1 hit never released physically. This honour went to Run by Leona Lewis, the 11th song in total to reach number 1 on downloads alone, but unlike the previous ten, it did not go on to receive a physical release in subsequent weeks (it should be pointed out though that it has been released physically overseas, for example in Germanymarker).

New rules were added to the chart on 16 September 2007 to include one track CD singles with a limit of 15 minutes and to retail at a minimum of 69p per one track CD single.

One noticeable effect that the new chart rules have had, has been to show up the staying power of many downloads, especially if a physical copy is no longer (or never has been) available. Despite a seven-week gap in its chart run in late 2006 while ineligible under the old rules, Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", mentioned earlier, has now clocked up 94 weeks on the chart, an amount bettered by only one other single in the whole of chart history ("My Way" by Frank Sinatra with 124 weeks). "Rule the World" by Take That has made it to 70 weeks, putting it in 3rd place in the all-time list; "Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon is on 62 weeks (5th); "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon is on 60 (6th); "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse is on 57 (joint 8th); "Low" by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain is on 53 (joint 13th); "Umbrella" by Rihanna is on 51 (15th); "Rockstar" by Nickelback and I'm Yours by Jason Mraz are each on 50 (joint 16th); two other Take That songs ("Patience" and "Shine"), are on 40 and 42 weeks respectively, while many hits by other people have passed the 30-mark. These include two more Amy Winehouse titles: her guest vocal appearance on Mark Ronson's version of the Zutons' "Valerie" on 39 weeks, and "Back to Black", which has made it to 34 weeks despite getting no higher than number 25. Meanwhile, "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado (also mentioned earlier), despite never being released physically, clocked up 31 weeks purely as a download.

Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", as covered by Jeff Buckley in 1994 charted at number 2 on 21 December 2008 on downloads alone, following the formation of a 110,000-strong protest group on Facebook to get it above (winner of The X Factor 2008) Alexandra Burke's version for Christmas number one.

Another consequence of the new chart rules that was widely expected but which has not so far materialised to any great extent, is that in the event of a high-profile new album release by a major act, all or most of its tracks could appear on the singles chart due to people downloading individual songs rather than the complete album. With the exception of one or two tracks by Mika and also Arctic Monkeys, there was no significant example of this happening until early October 2007, with the cast of High School Musical 2 placing six of its songs simultaneously in the Top 75 (although these were credited to their individual performers), with a further four just outside. A month later Leona Lewis placed five tracks from her album Spirit simultaneously on the singles chart. A more pronounced example may come with the long-awaited arrival of the Beatles' catalogue online, with the most optimistic forecasters predicting the entire top 10 being taken up by Beatles songs.

One effect of the new rules that was expected and did materialise, was the reappearance in the chart of a number of seasonal favourites in the run-up to Christmas 2007, in what looks set to become an annual event. In 2007 a total of 19 achieved this, without any being officially re-issued, and so reappeared on downloads alone. Two of these (by Mariah Carey and The Pogues), reached the Top 5. Two more old yuletide songs, never previously hits in the UK, also charted, by Andy Williams and Perry Como. In the run-up to Christmas 2008, 11 Christmas titles returned to the Top 75; these included the Mariah Carey and Pogues songs, which both climbed as high as number 12 this time. In the run-up to Christmas 2009, the Mariah Carey and Pogues songs have reappeared yet again, though these are the only ones so far.

The death of Michael Jackson on 25 June 2009 triggered a surge in sales of his recordings that was as massive as it was anticipated, but this was the first time in the download era that the effect of a major star's death on the chart could be observed. In the week beginning 28 June a total of 16 of his solo hits plus 4 more by the Jackson 5 or Jacksons re-entered the chart, the biggest simultaneous invasion by an artist in history.

The following week the momentum continued. 27 Jackson titles charted in the Top 75 (21 solo, 1 with his sister Janet, and 5 by the Jackson 5/Jacksons), with "Man In The Mirror" charting the highest at Number 2. In addition all 20 of the previous week's entries were climbers. However, one week later the trend had generally gone into reverse, with fewer titles on the chart and most of those falling.

Comparison of UK singles charts prior to 1969

  • New Musical Express (NME)
Launched the first UK singles sales chart (a top 12) on 14 November 1952, initially compiled on a points system, from a sample of 15-30 from a pool of 53 shops. The chart was expanded to a Top 20 from 1 October 1954, a Top 30 from 13 April 1956 and a Top 50 from April 1963. The sample size was initially 15-30 shops, expanded to 70 by the early 1960s and 150 by June 1963. NME compiled its own chart until 28 May 1988, after which it used the Network Chart (compiled by MRIB for broadcast on commercial radio in the UK in direct competition to the official chart show on Radio 1, and hosted at the time by David Jensen) for some years.

  • Record Mirror
Launched a top 10 singles chart on 22 January 1955, later expanded to a Top 20 and then Top 30. Discontinued in March 1962 when Record Mirror began taking the Record Retailer chart.

  • Radio Luxembourg
Radio Luxembourg was hugely influential in the 1950s and 1960s, but never had its own chart. It launched a Top 20 based on Melody Maker's sheet music chart as early as 1948 and switched to using the NME Top 20 singles sales chart at the start of 1960. During the 1970s, the chart fractured into multiple genre charts.

  • Melody Maker
Launched a Top 10 singles sales chart in April 1956, alongside (but eventually superseding) the sheet music chart it launched ten years earlier. The chart became a Top 50 in September 1962. Its sample size was 30 at launch, expanding to 110 by 1963, 150 by 1965 and 220 by the time it merged with the Disc chart in August 1967.

  • Disc & Music Echo
Launched a top 20 singles chart in February 1958, based on a sample of 25 shops. It expanded to a Top 30 with a sample of c.75-100 shops by 1966. The chart became a Top 50 in April 1966 and merged with Melody Maker's chart in August 1967. Due to Disc's lower circulation and smaller sample size, its chart is not generally considered as important as other charts of the same period.

  • Record Retailer
Trade magazine Record Retailer launched a Top 50 singles chart on 10 March 1960. Its sample was only 30 shops to begin with, growing to 40 by March 1962, 60 by March 1963 and 80 by 1969. This was the only major singles chart to exclude EPs, which had their own separate chart until 30 November 1967. EPs were allowed into the main singles chart from that point on, just in time for The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour to enjoy a chart run which peaked at #2.

  • British Broadcasting Corporation
Introduced Pick of the Pops on 4 October 1955, fortnightly until the end of the year, then weekly thereafter, based on an average of the Record Mirror and NME singles charts (and probably also Melody Maker from April 1956).

Building the canon

While the BBC/Record Retailer chart is almost universally accepted as definitive for the period from February 1969 onwards, there is some controversy over which charts should be considered "correct" prior to this. The most common solution to this problem is to regard the Record Retailer chart as the correct one from its inception in 1960, and the NME chart before that. This approach originated with the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, first published in 1977. However, it may be argued that almost nobody considered the Record Retailer chart to be canonical at the time of publication, at least until Record Mirror began publishing it as well. Some chart reference books simply take Record Mirror as their source from the start; this is the approach taken by The Top 20 Book compiled biannually by Tony Jasper from 1978 to 1994 and Rock File, an annual publication during the 1970s whose "Chart Log" feature was effectively the forerunner to "British Hit Singles", as well as numerous books by Dave McAleer. The result of this approach is a chart that begins in 1955, and joins up with the Record Retailer chart (and so agrees with the Guinness book) in 1962.

A case may also be made for considering the NME chart to be the correct one for at least part of the 1960s, since it was arguably the one followed by the most people. Similarly, Melody Maker's charts could be considered correct for the same period because they drew on the largest number of shops for their compilation. (However, the latter is less practical since unlike the NME charts, the Melody Maker charts have never been reprinted and are therefore difficult to obtain.)

The Official UK Charts Company have adopted the Guinness solution as defining the official chart canon, however different approaches continue to exist.

Criteria for inclusion

In order to qualify for inclusion in the UK singles chart, a single must meet the following criteria:
  • It must be available on one or more eligible formats. Eligible formats are CD, DVD, Vinyl, Cassette, digital download, MiniDisc and flexi disc.
  • All formats must contain the featured track or a version/remix of it.
  • Only three formats can be included in a single's sales. Sales of any additional formats are disregarded when calculating a single's chart position.
  • The single must meet a minimum dealer price requirement, to prevent record companies from making cut-price deals with retailers.
  • Each format must have no more than four different tracks on it, though each song may appear in any number of different versions.
  • The maximum running time for any format is 25 minutes if more than one different song is featured, or 40 minutes if only one song is featured in multiple versions/mixes.
  • A "mini CD" format is now recognised for chart purposes. It can have a running time of up to ten minutes and can feature no more than two tracks. It must be an 8 cm CD and sold in a single jewelcase. Its minimum price requirement is lower than the regular CD single. This cheaper alternative was first recognised in October 2003 as part of a drive to make singles more attractive to buyers in the face of widespread music downloading, despite this size of CD being used in many other countries (such as Japan) for single releases for many years.


The full chart regulations also place limits on how chart singles can be packaged and what free gifts can be offered to purchasers. The full regulations can be downloaded from the Official UK Charts Company website.

Broadcasting the charts

BBC Radio 1 was first broadcast in 1967, and has always included a broadcast of the official chart. In initial years, only the top twenty was broadcast. This was then gradually expanded so that the chart now covers the top forty singles although the entire Top 40 was not played until the start of 1991. Fourteen years later the chart show was revamped once more, with only the Top 20 singles being guaranteed to be played. Starting from 14 October 2007 Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates presented the Top 40 show on Sundays. The chart show has always been broadcast on a Sunday evening and has only been cancelled once - on 31 August 1997, owing to the death of Princess Diana.

For many years during the 1970s the chart was revealed on a Tuesday lunchtime (or Wednesday following a bank holiday), initially during Johnnie Walker's lunchtime show with Booker T. and the MGs' "Time is Tight" as backing music. This was later continued by Paul Burnett, Dave Lee Travis and Gary Davies. During this era, Top 40 on Sunday was merely a repeat of this (but, crucially, broadcast in FM stereo) - however, since October 1987 the new chart has been broadcast for the first time on Sundays.

The television version of the chart show, called The UK Top 40, began in 2002 on the children's BBC output strand CBBC, which broadcast selected video highlights and the entire top 10 countdown. It was hosted by Adrian Dickson and Konnie Huq from its inception until September 2004, and then by Andrew Hayden-Smith until the last edition on 12 June 2005.

The Sunday chart show was originally entitled "Pick Of The Pops", when it first aired on Radio 1. It was presented by Alan "Fluff" Freeman, who had been in charge of the show on the BBC Light Programme since 1961 (though with two brief gaps in his early years when the BBC were unsure about his style, which was very informal for the Corporation at the time). He later took it to Capital Radio where it combined the current Top 15 (different from the BBC chart) and a Top 15 from the past. He brought the format back to Radio 1, now as an oldies showcase featuring three different charts from the past, after they went stereo full-time in 1988 (they were only available in stereo via a frequency shared with Radio 2, which was mostly taken up by Radio 2 - Radio 1 was only available via that frequency from 22:00 to 00:00 on weeknights, Saturdays between 13:00 and 19:30 and Sundays from 17:00 until closedown).

From 1 October 1972, it was presented on Sundays by Tom Browne from 16:00 on Radio 1's 247 metres medium wave and also VHF from 18:00 to 19:00 (linking with the BBC Radio 2 transmitters). Simon Bates occasionally stood in for him from May 1976 onwards. The programme - which prior to March 1974 was a three hour show called "Solid Gold Sixty" - was carried by both Radio 1 and Radio 2 up to early 1979.

After Tom Browne finished his last chart rundown on 26 March 1978, Simon Bates was made the permanent host. From 12 November 1978 it was expanded to a Top 40, starting at 17:00 - the first hour going out on Radio 1 only and Radio 2 opting in from 18:00. Eventually, it became exclusive to Radio 1, but was carried on FM via the frequency the two stations shared, so listeners could hear it in stereo and get good reception, especially after dark. About this time, there were frequency changes that only affected long and medium wave transmissions - Radio 4 moving to long wave, Radio 2 moving to medium wave, Radio 3 moving to Radio 1's old frequency (that now carries Absolute Radio) and Radio 1 moving up the dial. Reception of Radio 1 was still often quite poor, though.

From 2 September 1979 to 3 January 1982, Tony Blackburn took over the helm. Having been axed from his daily show after twelve years, he also took over at this point from Ed Stewart on Junior Choice at weekends - a programme that was discontinued when kids stopped asking for Milly Molly Mandy and started asking for songs from the charts, which, by this time, featured acts like The Specials, Madness and The Selecter.

From 10 January 1982 to 1 January 1984, Tommy Vance hosted the show. Although usually considered a specialist in heavy metal and rock music, which he presented on the Friday Rock Show, he showed his versatility introducing, and giving facts about, a wide range of records.

From 8 January to 23 September 1984, Simon Bates took over again for a second time, but on 30 September (also Radio 1's 17th anniversary) he was replaced by Richard Skinner. This was the date when The Network Chart Show began in direct competition on the Independent Local Radio network. There were several differences between the official chart and its competitor - although Radio 1 was normally only available in mono, its chart show was broadcast in FM stereo, but the Network Chart was only in mono until the early 1990s (because the lines from LBC, which carried the show to the rest of the network and were normally only used for news bulletins, could only carry mono transmissions). Unlike the Radio 1 chart, the Network Chart also counted airplay in its compilation and included commercials. The rival chart enjoyed some success for a while, and was more up-to-date than the Radio 1 chart for its first three years (with a very few songs, such as Ferry Aid's version of "Let It Be", topping the Network Chart before they had entered the official chart at all), but the official chart had emerged triumphant by the end of the 1980s.

From the spring of 1986, Bruno Brookes took over - through the late 1980s the show was preceded by "Chartbusters", which featured songs bubbling under the Top 40. From 30 September 1990 to 1 March 1992 he was succeeded by Mark Goodier. Brookes came back from 15 March 1992 (after Tommy Vance had returned for a week) but left the station three years later, and was succeeded by Goodier again on 23 April 1995 and from the early 2000s Scott Mills filled in for Goodier when he was on holiday. Goodier left the show on 17 November 2002, the fiftieth anniversary of the chart's founding. His successors have been Wes Butters, JK and Joel, Fearne Cotton and currently Reggie Yates.

Number 1 quirks

Since the inception of the UK Singles chart, many issues have arisen about certain singles and whether or not they should have made number 1. This controversy has caused much dispute on a few number 1 singles - most notably concerning The Beatles' "Please Please Me", as discussed above.

There was a period of time when the entire record industry took a break for the Christmas period. This resulted in no release of a new singles chart on the Tuesday following Christmas Day. When electronic sales recording took over from sales diaries, a chart started to be compiled for Christmas week but was never aired. Usually, it would result in no change at number one. However, there was one exception; the Christmas period of 1980. A frenzy of buying John Lennon singles had begun following his murder on December 8. This resulted in " Starting Over" topping the charts, which was then dethroned after a mere seven days by "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma". However, after this stayed at the top for a week, many people had bought Lennon's re-issued Christmas classic, "Happy Xmas ", and the new chart compiled actually had this at the top. This chart was never published and thus it is omitted from lists of number ones. By the time the next official chart was issued after the festive season, "Imagine" had topped the chart, but technically John Lennon had three number ones in succession.

In the week of The Queen's massive Silver Jubilee celebrations in June 1977, the Sex Pistols were due to release their second single, "God Save The Queen", expressing great contempt for royalty. There was wide speculation and rumour that the Sex Pistols were going to be number 1 for this historic week, but surprisingly Rod Stewart retained his position on top of the chart for a fourth week with "I Don't Want To Talk About It/The First Cut Is the Deepest". Rumours then began to circulate that the chart compilers had fixed the chart to avoid controversy. A number of other charts, including that published in the New Musical Express, placed "God Save The Queen" at number one.

In the 1950s, singles had frequently shared the number 1 position for a week, due to sales ties. This had never been an issue ever since. However, in the 1980s, a new rule was instituted to deal with any joint positions in the chart (not just at number one): the single whose sales had increased most from the previous week would reside above the other. In September 1990, "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band and Deee-lite's "Groove Is In The Heart" sold enough copies to be joint number 1, but because of the rule, Deee-lite were relegated to number 2 and "The Joker" topped the chart. Following the controversy and complaints from Deee-lite's record company, WEA, the rule was scrapped and joint positions were once more allowed, although there have been no more joint chart-toppers since.

In 1987, Steve "Silk" Hurley's "Jack Your Body" topped the charts for 2 weeks, but in fact it should have never been there. The 12" actually exceeded the maximum playing time to qualify as a single and therefore Jackie Wilson's re-issue of "Reet Petite" should have enjoyed a fifth week at the top and "I Knew You Were Waiting " was deprived of a week at the top, which would have increased its total to three.

The advent of multi-formatting, whereby a single appears in many different versions, caused some controversy in 1982 when The Jam's "Town Called Malice" went straight in at number one, thereby keeping The Stranglers' "Golden Brown" at number two. "Town Called Malice" was available in two different versions - the studio version on the 7" single and a live recording on the 12" - and EMI (The Stranglers' record company) protested to the British Market Research Bureau that many Jam fans were buying both versions of the record. However, the BMRB ruled that nothing untoward had taken place, and more than twenty years on, multi-formatting has become the norm.

On a couple of occasions in chart history the wrong number one has been announced:
  • When the chart for the week ending 28 February 1976 was first unveiled, it was announced that Manuel and his Music Of The Mountains' version of the Spanish classical piece, Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez, had dethroned The Four Seasons' "December, 1963 " from the top spot. But moments after the chart had been made public, it was discovered that due to a catastrophic 'computer error' the entire chart was wrong. When the correct chart was compiled, Manuel (actually conductor Geoff Love) had been relegated to number 3 behind The Four Seasons and Tina Charles' "I Love To Love", and never did make number one.
  • In a similar incident for the week ending 10 November 1979, a compilation error led to the announcement that Dr Hook's "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" had topped Lena Martell's "One Day At A Time." The error did not immediately come to light, though it was put right in time for that week's edition of Top of the Pops. Happily (for Dr Hook at least) "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman" did make, and keep, the number one spot the following week.
  • At the end of each year, the BBC played its Chart of the Year, featuring a countdown of the best sellers calculated from the biggest hits of the year. For both the chart of 1975 and 1976, Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, despite being at Number One for nine weeks, overlapping both years, and becoming one of the biggest selling hits of all time, failed to make an appearance anywhere in either BBC Chart of the Year. This error - in an unofficial chart (the year's best sellers have never formed a chart of their own) - was not corrected.


Sponsorship

There has been much controversy over the fact that the UK Singles Chart has, for many years, been sponsored by various companies. This in itself would be unremarkable were it not for the fact that the chart is broadcast exclusively on BBC Radio 1, a publicly owned radio station that cannot sell advertising or sponsorship. The singles chart sponsorship is, however, sold by the Official UK Charts Company, so the BBC does not receive any money from the deal. They have, in the past, mentioned the name of the sponsors during the chart rundown and this has in effect allowed the sponsors to do indirect advertising on a publicly owned radio station.

For many years the chart was sponsored by worldpop.com (no longer exists), a music website. However, in 2004, Coca-Cola became the sponsors. For a while, the BBC continued the practice of mentioning the sponsoring company during the chart show, however there was a huge backlash against this, partly caused by controversy elsewhere over allowing sugary/fatty foods and drinks to be advertised to children. It was also considered controversial as it appeared (erroneously) that the BBC, a licence-fee supported organisation which does not allow advertising, was being sponsored.

The BBC initially stuck to its guns but eventually came to an agreement whereby the name would be dropped from its on-air broadcast.

See also



Chart Magazines
Rival Charts
Chart Books


References

  1. PC Pro: News: Beatles albums remastered for download debut
  2. Beatles To Dominate Charts As EMI Lawsuit Settled - TrustedReviews


External links




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